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Loki Episode 5: How It Sets Up The MCU’s Next Big Bad

This article contains spoilers for Loki.

Strap in as Loki is heading towards an epic finale with today’s penultimate episode setting up what should be an impressive conclusion.

Titled Journey Into Mystery the episode was exactly that, as the Loki variants teamed up to take on a carnivorous cloud monster known as Alioth. And if that doesn’t sound wild enough, did we mention one of our heroes is an alligator version of Loki? Yes, Marvel really went off the wall for this one, and we loved every second of it.

Clever Sylvie realised the Alioth is acting like a guard dog protecting the being who is really behind the TVA and the chaos that has reigned throughout the series.

Marvel Studios

Working with Loki to enchant the Alioth, the pair managed to subdue the beast revealing a gateway to what appears to be a gothic castle that is lying in outer space beyond the end of time.

With the central mystery of the show now being who created the TVA, we can only assume the real villain of the series is holed up in this mysterious mansion.

And that antagonist may just be the next big bad of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) if the clues are indeed pointing to Kang The Conqueror…

Who Is In The Castle?

Marvel Studios

There are a few options for who is really behind the TVA and is lying in wait in this haunting castle. These range from the shifty Ravonna Renslayer (do we believe that she really is in the dark?) to the TVA’s mascot Miss Minutes (can we trust that sweet face?).

The most likely contender though is none other than comic book supervillain Kang The Conqueror, a firm fan favourite whose appearance in the MCU has long been awaited.

There are several clues that suggest the man behind the curtain is Kang, especially since we know that actor Jonathan Majors has been cast in the role for the upcoming Ant-Man And The Wasp: Quantumania.

That opens up the possibility of the character popping up in the MCU beforehand to tease his big arrival, something the franchise has done before with the likes of Thanos.

Marvel Comics

As a time-traveling entity whose goal is to conquer the world by messing with history, Kang fits right in with Loki’s themes and storylines, maybe creating the TVA as a way to accomplish his mission.

Talking of the series’ themes, Kang often works alongside other versions of himself known as the Council Of Kangs, which sounds to us like the team of Loki variants… but evil of course!

Adding to the list of clues is the fact the Time-Keepers looked suspiciously like the villain, and that in the comics Renslayer (played by Gugu Mbatha-Raw in the show) is very much linked to Kang as his on-and-off partner.

Marvel Studios

Episode five only gave us even more pointers that Kang is coming, with the green, purple and blue colours that surround the mysterious castle seemingly mirroring his outfit from the comics.

In the comic books Alioth, the cloud-like creature who was guarding the castle, is actually a rival of Kang’s, making himself such after becoming the first being able to break free from the timeline.

Feeling threatened by Alioth, Kang built a barrier between their domains. The MCU then could be turning this on its head, with Kang using Alioth as the blockade to the villain’s world.

Marvel Studios

Another Easter egg from the episode which signals Kang’s arrival is the fact the building which appeared to be a destroyed version of the Avengers Tower actually bears the name ‘Qeng’.

This is a direct reference to a comic book storyline which saw a version of Kang, known by the alias Mr Gryphon, create a company called Qeng Enterprises.

And if that wasn’t enough clues for you, in the rubble on The Void you can spot a version of the helmet Ant-Man villain Yellowjacket wore, connecting Loki to that series of films which we know Kang is appearing in.

That’s all without us mentioning that the castle may be the MCU’s spin on Chronopolis, the city from the future that Kang calls home.

Who Is Kang The Conqueror?

Marvel Comics

You might now be wondering then, who is Kang The Conqueror? First appearing in The Avengers #8 in 1964, Kang The Conqueror was created by writer Stan Lee and artist Jack Kirby featuring as a regular supervillain in Marvel Comics.

A time-travelling entity, he is a regular foe for both the Avengers and the Fantastic Four, but has also faced off against other Marvel heroes throughout his long history.

Born in the 30th century as Nathaniel Richards, a descendant of Reed Richards and Sue Storm of the Fantastic Four, Kang was brought into a violent world and decided to bring about peace through conquering the whole planet.

Marvel Comics

Then discovering Doctor Doom’s time machine, from there Kang has continued with his conquest throughout history travelling to different centuries, taking on numerous identities including Immortus and Pharaoh Rama-Tut.

Whilst Kang has gone by many names, devised countless evil plots, and has been driven by several varying motivations, his basic goal has always remained the same – conquer the world.

Seeing himself as the rightful ruler of the world, Kang is also dangerous as he uses advanced weaponry from the future in his conquest, and often rewrites history to suit his own whims, caring little for the laws of time and physics.

What Are His Powers?

Marvel Comics

Born human, Kang The Conqueror actually has no innate super powers or abilities, but in the 30th century (in which he was born) humanity has learned to enhance themselves when it comes to speed and strength, meaning your regular person is as strong as Captain America.

What does make Kang special though is he is an unparalleled genius, being a gifted physicist and historian using this knowledge during his conquest.

He also wears a distinctive suit of armour, inspired by fellow villain Doctor Doom, which protects him during battle and makes him stronger.

Marvel Comics

Making use of advanced weapons from the future, Kang has a fondness for a ray gun which can sap a person’s strength and power, and he also travels through space and time with a special ship.

And it isn’t just weapons from throughout time that Kang uses, as his vast army is comprised of the best warriors and soldiers from the past, the present and the future.

The thing that really makes Kang powerful though is he is seemingly immortal, abusing the timeline for his own selfish whims meaning there are several versions of Nathaniel Richards which exist in the galaxy.

So every time you defeat the conqueror there is always another incarnation in waiting, ready to cause more chaos.

What Does This All Mean For The MCU?

Marvel Studios

Well, firstly we have to consider the fact that the MCU might be playing us. Although all the signs point to Kang, this could be similar to what happened with WandaVision, where fans expected Mephisto to appear after spotting several Easter eggs.

The situation is a little different here as we know Kang The Conqueror will appear in the third Ant-Man movie, so we do know that he will arrive in the MCU soon, which makes sense given that with Thanos defeated the franchise needs a new big bad.

That leaves us then with the question will we see Kang in the finale of Loki? The most likely answer is yes, but his appearance will probably be brief as the last episode will set up events for Phase Four to follow on from.

One thing is for certain though – Kang’s upcoming arrival spells trouble for all of our MCU heroes…

Loki airs weekly on Disney+.

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Emily Murray

Emily Murray

Editor

Emily is a journalist and film critic who unashamedly cries at most movies having got too emotionally attached. When not at the cinema, she is at home cuddling her cat Holmes, whilst binge watching New Girl. She can be found on Twitter @emilyvmurray